The communications director for AM/NS Calvert joined Mobile Baykeeper’s board of directors this week despite ties to one of the largest environmentally-permitted industries in the area.
Scott Posey, an AM/NS Calvert employee since 2007, is the first board member to work for the type of industry that could potentially find itself at odds with Baykeeper’s core mission.
However, Board President Wayne Keith said Baykeeper “diligently researched AM/NS Calvert’s history of compliance with environmental laws and regulations” before extending the offer to Posey to join the board.“Mobile Baykeeper is proud to welcome Scott Posey to its Board of Directors. Scott is a native Mobilian personally invested and committed to the Mobile Bay Area.,” Keith said. “We were satisfied with what we found and invited Scott to join us with the understanding that we will continue to evaluate AM/NS Calvert just as thoroughly as we would any other industry in the area.”
AM/NS Calvert — a 50/50 joint venture between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. (NSSMC) — operates of the steel processing plant in Calvert, Ala. originally built by German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp (TK).
Though Keith said AM/NS Calvert has a history of compliance with environmental laws and regulations, he described Baykeeper’s relationship with TK as “tenuous” — claiming the “massive facility had many potential environmental impacts and their commitment to environmental protection appeared inadequate.”
However, Keith said Posey’s induction to the board isn’t the first time Baykeeper has had to separate an industry relationship from its core mission to “protect the Mobile Bay Watershed.”
In fact, AM/NS Calvert — though Posey’s position as communications director — partnered with Baykeeper in 2014 to help develop the educational program, Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program [SWAMP].
With additional support from the Mobile Area Education Foundation [MAEF], SWAMP emphasizes the importance of watershed management and has helped train more than 3,500 volunteers to monitor local water quality since it launched two years ago.“As required by our giving policy, Mobile Baykeeper immediately reviewed their compliance history and communicated that their donation means we are going to watch them more closely,” Keith said. “After two years of partnership, we believe that Scott and AM/NS Calvert are aware of our expectations and are committed to ensuring transparency, compliance, and improvement in environmental sustainability. They are also aware that Mobile Baykeeper will not hesitate to address any environmental concerns that may arise.”
Now in its 20th year, Baykeeper has established a history of taking on industries that pollute the waterways surrounding Mobile Bay, but the organization has also worked alongside businesses to reach agreeable solutions.
According to Keith, “reasonable and meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders is at the core of what makes Mobile Baykeeper a successful and effective organization.” In a statement confirming his election to the board, Posey seemed to agree with the sentiment.
“We may not always agree on the path to get there, but as long as we agree that our area’s natural resources have incalculable value to every person, business and industry, and the health of our community is dependent on us improving and protecting them, it will be easier to achieve these shared goals by working together,” Posey said.
Posey has worked with the carbon steel side of the AM/NS Calvert facility since 2007. He has also served as a member of the Mobile Area Education Foundation, Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and the Advisory Board for Bishop State Community College.